Our people

Meet our directors

The UK DRI brings together multidisciplinary expertise in dementia research, in programmes of work shaped and delivered through a team of directors.

The director and five associate directors are working collaboratively to form the scientific strategy of the institute, and ensure it meets its ambitious goals.

Our COO Dr Adrian Ivinson will work closely with the director to provide operational leadership and direction across the UK DRI’s six centres to ensure the readiness and development of the institute.

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Bart De Strooper is a world-renowned Alzheimer researcher, who most recently led a team at the KU Leuven in Belgium. He was formerly Director at the Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie and led a neuroscience department of over 250 researchers. Professor De Strooper’s research has focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. He is the recipient of several prestigious prizes in recognition of his work, such as the Potamkin prize, the Metlife Foundation Award for Medical Research and the Alois Alzheimer’s prize. 

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Giovanna Mallucci is Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, specialising in dementia. She combines clinical work and basic research, having previously led groups in the MRC Prion Unit and MRC Toxicology Unit. Her research is advancing understanding of common mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases and pioneering the development of interventions targeting these pathways for the treatment for dementia. Professor Mallucci has received numerous awards for her work, including a SciAm50 award for leadership in research as one of the top 50 scientific innovators worldwide.

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Professor of Neuropsychological Genetics at Cardiff University and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Welsh Government since 2013, Professor Williams is a world renowned expert in the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease. Having led global studies identifying new Alzheimer’s disease risk genes, her collaborative discovery of three such genes was recognised by TIME Magazine as one of the top ten medical breakthroughs of 2009. Professor Williams is one of four leaders of the International Genomics of Alzheimer’s Project (IGAP) and Deputy Director for the MRC Dementias Platform UK (DPUK). She was awarded a CBE in 2012 for her contribution to Alzheimer’s research.

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As Professor of Molecular Neurobiology at the University of Edinburgh, Giles Hardingham’s research looks into signalling between neurons and glia in the brain. His aim is to characterise the interactions that maintain brain homeostasis, and how these mechanisms break down in diseases that cause dementia. Having started his career at the University of Cambridge, Professor Hardingham worked at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology before moving to Edinburgh, obtaining a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, and latterly a MRC Senior Non-Clinical Research Fellowship. Professor Hardingham is a former EMBO Young Investigator and Colworth Medal winner.

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Paul Matthews is Head of the Division of Brain Sciences in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London. He was the founding director of two internationally leading research imaging centres, the University of Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Imaging of the Brain and later, the GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Imaging Centre. As well as extensive academic experience, Professor Matthews served as Vice President of GlaxoSmithKline Medicines Discovery and Development between 2005 and 2014, and currently leads the imaging network for DPUK. His research aims to translate advances in brain imaging into clinical applications in neuroscience, including accelerating drug development. Professor Matthews was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to neuroscience.

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In addition to being Professor of Neurology and Neurogenetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, Professor Shaw is also Head of Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, Director of the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute and an Honorary Consultant at King’s College Hospital. Following clinical training in New Zealand, Professor Shaw developed his research career at the University of Cambridge before moving to King’s where his research focuses on the genetic, molecular and cellular basis of motor neurone disease and frontotemporal dementia. His team has discovered many new genes that highlight the major disease pathways and present new therapeutic opportunities. Professor Shaw has received lots of recognition for his work, including the Sheila Essey Award. 

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